Monday, July 23, 2007

Response To GMA's HSA

At the SONA today, GMA asked the senate and lower house to craft laws to protect the rights of the people against abuse. Like I mentioned in a previous entry, the HSA is open to any abuse by those who would implement it. There maybe safeguards but loopholes and misinterpretation by certain quarters can render these inutile.

My response to her call is to ratify the Rome Statute. In a nation where institutions have deteriorated, nothing is safe from any kind of abuse. The concept of the creation of the International Criminal Court is to protect every citizen of the world from abuse of the state. When the state represses its people, the ICC can intervene on its behalf.

The extra-judicial carnage we continue to experience is a good case for the ICC. It is absurd for the administration to ask that we all abide by the rule of law while it attacks the very essence of the constitution. Calling for additional laws to protect the people from abuses of the security forces will amount to nothing as she can easily call upon her forces to respect the people.

She referred to men who commit these atrocities as rogue groups in the military. How convenient it is for her to use this alibi. The MILF uses this excuse as well to "protect" those who beheaded the ten marines, lost command "daw". Its so easy to point elsewhere to cover up the truth.

If the administration is clean and conducts itself properly with regards to human rights, then it should not be afraid to go under the scrutiny of the ICC. Are we made to believe that the ICC has a hidden agenda or even a deal with insurgents? I don't think that the ICC will be biased to any side. It will not allow its institution to be used as a tool for harassing any leader of any state.

The abuses in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Detention Centers showed why the Rome Statute should be ratified. Citizens should have someone to run to when leaders or even institutions who cannot be made accountable by its people abuse them openly. The administration clearly has unjustified reservations against the ICC.

Any complaint will first be investigated, the ICC will not readily accept cases without basis. If the government cannot make accountable these "rogue elements and lost commands", then where does this leave us? We signed the Rome Treaty on December 28, 2000. It was during Erap's administration. Since Gloria took over, nothing was heard of it and extra-judicial violations increased. It has been growing at a steady pace. Even when nations the world over have condemned these, GMA quickly dismissed tham and toed the AFP line that all these killings were done by the communists.

The Melo Commission whose task is to investigate the extra-judicial kilings and enforced disappearances have cleared the AFP. Witnesses were afraid to come out for fear of retaliation. In the end, the commission became a tool by this administration to cover up its misdeeds.

GMA stood beside the U.S. in not ratifying the treaty. The U.S. and Israel both signed but have said that they will not ratify it. Only countries whose leaders and military are abusive should be afraid of the ICC. Countries who have dictators and authoritarian leaderships will never accede to such a treaty. Maniacs who rule without respect to life will never approve such an agreement.

If GMA really wants us to give the Human Security Act a chance, yes we will. But she has to ratify the Rome Statute to make sure that someone will really be watching our backs. With her around, nothing should be left to chance.

Additional references to the Rome Statute can be read here and here.